Thursday, November 09, 2006

fly by night

I just stepped outside, into the near complete darkness under a starry sky at 6 pm. Immediately, a chorus of hollow whoo's sounded from above. More tundra swans. From the location of their voices, they flew directly overhead, in a northwest/southeast path.

The moon was not up yet. These birds must know how to navigate by the stars. They'll probably be flying all night. God speed, hope to hear your magnificent voices in the spring.

Last night, The Hermit drove the kids to youth group at church, and saw the same bird twice, on the way there and back, a hawklike bird all white underneath, flying up from the ditch and disappearing into the woods. One time, it's in your mind. Twice, it's there but it's a spirit bird. I saw it the third time. That makes it a late migrating northern harrier.


Anonymous said...

I've been really lonesome to be up north, but I can be there in my mind when you describe it.

robin andrea said...

I like what you wrote about the succession of sightings of birds. We just saw our first northern harrier a few weeks ago. It hunts low to the ground and has the spectacular white stripe just above its tail.

Darkness is arriving earlier and earlier. We plotted the sunset times between autumn equinox and winter solstice. We are approaching the time when the decline starts to slow way down. Between mid November and solstice there is really only a 20 minute change here. Somehow knowing that makes the darkness seem manageable.

LauraHinNJ said...

I hope those Tundra Swans are coming my way, Deb!

Harriers are great birds. Aren't they all? In the winter here we watch them parolling the marshes by day, and there is that magical time before dusk when they hunt with the short-eared owls.